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Hongyan Zou

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  • Neurological Surgery


  • MD, Stanford University School of Medicine

  • Internship, General Surgery
    Stanford University Hospital

  • Residency, Neurosurgery
    Stanford University Hospital


    Dr. Zou focuses her clinical practice in minimally-invasive and complex spine, brain and spine tumors and general neurosurgery. Her laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of axonal growth and neurogenesis.  Her research supports the development of molecular treatments for neuronal and axonal regeneration.

    Please visit Dr. Hongyan Zou's Laboratory of Axon Growth and Neuronal Regeneration for more information.

    Read Dr. Zou's profile in Chinese


  • 2013 -
    National Innovative Research Award Grant
    American Heart Association

  • 2013 -
    NIH R21
    National Institutes of Health

  • 2011 -
    NIH R01
    National Institutes of Health

  • 2011 -
    Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Award

  • 2010 -
    Dr. Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award

  • 2010 - 2013
    Transcriptional regulation of the intrinsic axon growth capacity during development
    Whitehall Foundation

  • 2010 -
    Young Clinician Investigator Award for Young Faculty
    NREF (Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation) of the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons)

  • 2007 -
    Congress of Neurological Surgeons Resident Award

  • 2006 -
    NRSA/NINDS Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 2000 -
    Baxter Foundation Grant

  • 1996 -
    Julian R. Rachele Prize

  • 1996 -
    Frank Lappin Horsfall Jr. Fellowship



Specific Research Interests:  
-Molecular mechanisms of axonal growth;
-Transcription factors regulating axonal regeneration;
-Neural stem cell proliferation, differentiation and implication in CNS tumorigenesis.

Our lab is interested in understanding how neurons are born, how they extend axons, and how they regenerate or fail to regenerate after injury. Brain and spinal cord injuries account for billions of dollars each year in medical costs. Understanding classic and identifying novel signaling pathways that promote neurogenesis and axonogenesis will provide new molecular targets towards effective CNS regeneration. Similar mechanisms that regulate the neural stem cell (NSC) niche also regulate tumor stem cells (TSCs). Developing strategies to shrink the TSC pool by inhibiting proliferation, inducing apoptosis or promoting differentiation will have great impact on treating primary brain tumor, which is one of the leading causes of death in children and young adults.


Zhong J, Zou H. BMP signaling in axon regeneration. Current opinion in neurobiology 2014 Aug; 27.

O'Donovan KJ, Ma K, Guo H, Wang C, Sun F, Han SB, Kim H, Wong JK, Charron J, Zou H, Son YJ, He Z, Zhong J. B-RAF kinase drives developmental axon growth and promotes axon regeneration in the injured mature CNS. The Journal of experimental medicine 2014 May; 211(5).

Zou H, Niswander L. Requirement for BMP signaling in interdigital apoptosis and scale formation. Science 1996 May 3; 272: 738-741.

Wong JK, Zou H. Reshaping the chromatin landscape after spinal cord injury. Frontiers in biology 2014 Oct; 9(5).

Zou H, Choe KM, Lu Y, Massague J, Niswander L. BMP signaling and vertebrate limb development. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 1997; 62: 269-272.

Zou H, Wieser R, Massague J, Niswander L. Distinct roles of type I bone morphogenetic protein receptors in the formation and differentiation of cartilage. Genes & Development 1997 Sep 1; 11(17): 2191-2203.

Parikh P, Hao Y, Hosseinkhani M, Patil SB, Huntley GW, Tessier-Lavigne M, Zou H. PNAS Plus: Regeneration of axons in injured spinal cord by activation of bone morphogenetic protein/Smad1 signaling pathway in adult neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011 Apr;.

Varley JE, McPherson CE, Zou H, Niswander L, Maxwell GD. Expression of a constitutively active type I BMP receptor using a retroviral vector promotes the development of adrenergic cells in neural crest cultures. Developmental Biology 1998 Apr 1; 196(1): 107-118.

Mascitelli J, De Los Reyes K, Steinberger J, Zou H. Lack of functionality and need for revision of an Ommaya reservoir placed into a cavum septum pellucidum. Journal of neurosurgery 2013 Mar; 118(3).

Finelli MJ, Murphy KJ, Chen L, Zou H. Differential phosphorylation of Smad1 integrates BMP and neurotrophin pathways through Erk/Dusp in axon development. Cell reports 2013 May; 3(5).

Zou H, Ho C, Wong K, Tessier-Lavigne M. Axotomy-induced Smad1 Activation Promotes Axonal Growth in Adult Sensory Neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 2009; 29(22): 7116-7123.

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Zou during 2014 and/or 2015. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.


  • DePuy Spine

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

Insurance Information

Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) physicians - including those employed by MSHS - do not always participate in the same health plans in which MSHS hospitals or facilities participate.

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Insurance plans that the Mount Sinai Health System hospitals or facilities participate in can be found on the Mount Sinai Health System website.

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  • HealthPlus, Inc.
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